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Tennis: Serena races to eighth title of year in Toronto

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

World number one Serena Williams steamrolled Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-0 on Sunday to win the WTA title in Toronto and signal her readiness for a US Open title bid.

The 31-year-old American, stung by a fourth-round Wimbledon exit after grabbing her 16th Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros, claimed a third Canadian title to go with those she won in 2001 and 2011.

Williams needed just 61 minutes to notch her eighth triumph of 2013 and the 54th of her career.

It was a perfect prep for her defence of the US Open title, with Williams hoping she can put her Australian Open and Wimbledon disappointments behind her when the last Grand Slam of the year begins on August 26.

"I'm disappointed I didn't win Wimbledon or Australia," said Williams, who is slated for one more hardcourt tuneup at Cincinnati next week. "I'm always insatiable."

Cirstea, who had beaten three top-10 players en route to the final in Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova and Li Na as well as former world number one Jelena Jankovic, couldn't pull off another upset, although Williams acknowledged the 23-year-old Romanian's run had caught her attention.

"I know she's so capable of winning big matches," Williams said. "And she's had so many big upsets this week. I didn't want to be another casualty."

In the end, however, it was never close as Williams handed Cirstea a third straight-sets defeat in as many meetings. Cirstea has never managed to take more than two games off Williams in a set.

Despite her growing confidence, Cirstea's nerves betrayed her as she opened the match with a double fault, and delivered another double to surrender her serve in the first game.

On the verge of another break in the third game, she produced her best rally of the match to keep Williams at bay briefly, but the American gained the break on her third opportunity for a 3-0 lead.

Even so, Williams wasn't at her best, massaging a thigh and exhorting herself after wayward shots.

"I was either tired or I got a little cramp," Williams said. "I was like, 'Come on, Serena, it's only three games. Pull yourself together, sister.'"

An on-court discussion with coach Darren Cahill at the changeover energized Cirstea. She broke Williams at love and held to narrow the gap to 3-2, but the magic didn't last.

Williams won the last three games to pocket the set in 37 minutes.

Another pep-talk from Cahill at 3-0 in the second set couldn't help Cirstea, her only flash of resistance coming when she saved a first match point, only to smack a forehand wide on the second.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130811/tennis-serena-races-eighth-title-year-toronto